I don’t rant about bad advertising because I have nothing better to do. I do it because it pains me to see hard-working business owners wasting their profits on advertising that doesn’t work. Here’s an example of an ad that should be avoided like the plague.
“They say there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. At _______________, we know there’s a third one: _________________________. When you buy from ____________, you avoid_________, __________, and _________________. ____________________ offers you a great selection, impeccable service, and peace of mind. We’re the ones you can rely on. Just call __________________. We’re here for you.”
Now, I’ll share with you another cliché – I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. These kinds of ads are EVERYWHERE!
I know I’ve heard this ad before…or a just as cheesy version of it. It’s basically a template that a poor ad copywriter keeps on file to crank out quick radio scripts. And the headline can be changed out to include something equally universal. A bad copywriter keeps many of these kinds of templates on file. But there’s a problem with that. They don’t work.
They don’t work because it doesn’t tell me anything of real value. And there’s no emotion in it. It doesn’t cause a person to start trusting you and feel more comfortable with your company. It’s just “this is what you can avoid” and “this is what we offer”. As soon as you hear, “When you buy from…” you’ll immediately start tuning out.
How do you write a better ad?
You start from scratch. You talk directly to one person that you’re trying to help. How can you solve a problem for your prospect? How can buying your products or services help someone improve their life? What’s the number one complaint people have about your industry – is your business different? Tell us a quick story about how you helped someone who had a particular problem…and how easy it was for them.
You take out all of the clichés. If you say you’re better than someone else or you can help people avoid a certain headache…then prove it to me – otherwise I won’t believe you.
Use visual words. Help paint a picture in someone’s mind. Help them SEE things. It will help people stay engaged with your ad. It will help your ad be more memorable.
There is no template for a great ad. You have to start with your particular story. What are you passionate about? What makes you different? Why are you in this crazy business? But it’s hard to do it on your own. You need a good ad person to get your story out of you. They need to dig deep into what makes you tick. Why do business with YOU and not Hank or Joe or Sheila down the road?
The real guts to a good ad and a good ad campaign will come from the information gathering session. Or whatever some people call it – discovery, uncovery, the Aha! interview…whatever. There will be a ton of questions asked and a lot of stories told. And it will take longer than 20 minutes…and possibly more than one or two sessions before the really good stuff is found.
This kind of discovery session is the TOUGH part. It’s the part that requires some brains, experience, and patience from the advertising person or whoever is helping you out. You can’t do it all on your own because you need someone from the outside looking in. You’re too close to your business, you have some blinders on that you’re not quite fully aware of.
Need some help? Why not follow this blog? Take a look at some of my past advice…and you’ll also be notified when I write something new. I like to help local business owners cut the fat from their advertising.
If your advertising person comes back to you with an advertising script that’s similar to the one above, either ask for something better (give them some direction) or find a new ad person.
Have a great day!
I’m a marketing guy and ad writer. This isn’t just about better ads either, it’s also about a strategy to set you apart and help you be remembered (in a good way). I write this marketing blog because I’m on a mission to help you get more from your advertising bucks. I also wrote a a no-nonsense book about how to take a bigger slice of market share with better advertising. It’s called “Take a Bigger Slice”.